Making the most of Ramadan – you still have time – make a firm intention and stick to it!
Every year the blessed month of Ramadan comes and we tell ourselves that this Ramadan it will be different, this year, this Ramadan will be a spiritual experience, we will make the most of it insha’Allah. Although our intentions are sincere the reality soon presents itself differently, we get caught up and distracted with other things, the preparation of the food, getting into the routine of Ramadan etc. Before you know it we are in the last week of Ramadan, a feeling of regret and remorse aches and fills our heart, if only we had done more. Ramadan is about doing more than what we usually do. Ramadan has to be different to the rest of the year. It’s a month where we increase in our Ibadah (worship) and become closer to Allah.
Let’s look at some ways in which we can truly strive to make the most of this Ramadan:
1. Set Goals
Set goals – it’s not too late! Think about what things you would like to do, what habits would you like to make in Ramadan, how do you want to spend this month. Reciting more Quran, praying more Salah, doing more Dhikr, doing more good deeds ie. helping others eg. neighbours, parents, resolve disputes between yourself and others.
It’s a really worthwhile writing your goals down, this will serve as a reminder and also solidify your intentions too. For example, you may wish to make one of your goals to be, to recite more Quran. Make your goals very specific, instead of saying ‘recite more Quran’ say ‘recite Quran daily’ or, if you usually recite 1 page daily, then make a goal to recite 2 pages daily (and include pondering on the meaning). Keep the goals real and achievable. It’s better to set small targets and over-achieve, than feeling overwhelmed at your long list of far-fetched goals – you know yourself and what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.
Another goal may be to ‘stop wasting time’ – again its better to be more specific and say ‘limit time using social media and/or watching television etc.
2. Treat this Ramadan as though it is your last
When you pray, fast, recite Quran or perform any good deeds this Ramadan truly believe in your heart that this is the last Ramadan of your life, this is your last chance to benefit from this month of immense blessings.
Remembering our death is highly encouraged in Islam and there are many Hadith of Muhammad ﷺ where he told us to remember it often. It is only in accepting that we are temporary and have very little time in this world that we are able to change our habits and be more focused on the hereafter. It is the best motivator and will give us a really good push to use our time more constructively insha’Allah.
3. Don’t make it all about food
After all those hours of hunger and thirst during the fasting days, it’s really easy to overeat and fill yourself to a point that you feel uncomfortable. Try not to make this Ramadan be all about the food, preparing it, planning what to make, making grand iftaars or eating at the best restaurants. Instead try to eat more simple healthy food that are quicker to prepare and have more nutritional value.
There is so much reward for preparing food for those who fast and providing food for those who have been fasting, but we need to make sure that we are reasonable in how much time and effort we spend on these things. We should ensure that we don’t lose out on the real meaning and intention behind Ramadan, which is ultimately for the pleasure of Allah.
We should try our best to use these precious moments in ibadah, praying, reciting Quran, dhikr, reflecting on the words of the Quran, praying with more presence (khushoo).
4. Remove your distractions
Fasting can make you feel lethargic, tired and unmotivated at times, with the days being long it’s quite easy to slip into our usual habits of using social media too much, playing computer games, having long telephone chats or watching our favourite drama on tv.
Distractions are what consume our time and removes us away from our goals, essentially wasting our time. It is only when we are present, reflective and undistracted that our heart is able to remember Allah and everything He has blessed us with.
We need to work hard to resist our distractions and create an atmosphere in our homes that will encourage us to achieve our goals and be able to gain the most benefit this Ramadan.
May Allah سبحانه و تعالى guide us in our endeavours, may this Ramadan be one in which we are able to please Him and gain many blessings and reward Insha’Allah.